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My take on Fanouropita: “with Tahini” (Vegan Cake)

Phanouropita - Fanouropita

Fanouropita or Phanouropita is a Greek, vegan cake made to honour St. Phanourios (or Fanourios), who  is known to help people find lost objects or make things that you want to happen.

When the lost item is found or what you have asked for has materialized, one should bake a Fanouropita (Phanouropita), which is a cake in memory of St. Phanourios’ mother, and give it either to the poor or in church, after the liturgy which takes place either on the eve of Saint Fanourios name day, 26th of August or on the 27th in the morning or at the vesper.

The cake is brought to any church, preferably of  Saint Phanourios, where the priest blesses it with a nice ceremony. After the liturgy, the cakes are cut and shared with the people. (Have a knife and napkins with you).



About Aghios Phanourios:  “On August 27th, according to the Greek Synaxarion, we commemorate the Holy Martyr Phanourios. He appeared to people on the island of Rhodes in 1500. Several people had a vision of the saint and then his icon was discovered.  Aghios Phanouriosis the saint of revelation – that is why he is often depicted as a young soldier holding a sword in one hand and a lit candle in the other. There is a tradition concerning him and his mother, who was a harlot and great sinner. His love for his mother caused him to pray for her incessantly. At the time of his martyric death by stoning, he could not even then forget his mother, and with the boldness that is peculiar to athletes of Christ, prayed: “For the sake of these my sufferings, Lord, help all those who will pray to Thee for the salvation of Phanourios’ sinful mother”.

Many to this day pray for his mother and have her listed in their personal diptychs used for commemorations in the Divine Liturgy as “The Mother of St Phanourios” since her name is not known.

On the day of the Saint, there is a tradition that the faithful bake a special bread (cake), and according to some accounts, give it to the poor as alms in the name of his mother, and others, share it with at least seven other people. St Phanourios’ name gives a hint about another tradition concerning the Saint. “Phanourios” comes from the Greek word, “phanerono”, meaning “I reveal”.  He is known to help people find lost objects or find things that you want to happen.

 All the cakes you see in the church are made after finding the objects asked to be found.

St Phanourios’ church in Pangrati, is a very small church belonging to the Holy Land and the blessing takes place in the back yard.  This year there were more than 200 cakes and breads spread on three big tables.

This cake is really delicious.  You don’t need to be an Orthodox Christian to make it.  In the title I name it as “vegan”.  It can easily be made “vegan” by adding plain tahini and substituting honey with more sugar.

Those receiving the cake must ask for his mother’s sins to be forgiven “Ο Θεός να μακαρίσει τη μάνα του Αγίου Φανουρίου” (the name of his mother is not known) .

A few months back my son lost something which at the time seemed impossible to be found.  After making all possible efforts to recover it, without success, I told him that on the eve of St. Fanourios I would make a cake if what he was looking for was recovered.

A few days later it was miraculously recovered. The cake must be lenten and contain any of the ingredients listed below provided that the number is odd:  5, 7,  etc.  The basic ingredients are flour, sugar, olive oil, cinnamon, raisins, walnuts and then any other ingredients may also be added. In Cyprus the tradition says that the cake, after being blessed in church, must be given to 7 women who were married only once and are not divorced.

Before, going to the recipe, as many of you who follow me on Facebook, may have already heard that my beloved brother passed away, after a heart attack, on 20th of August.  He is leaving behind his beloved wife and three children.

Ι wish to thank you all for your lovely messages, either private, here or at facebook after the announcement of the death of my beloved brother.

Although I still need some time to grieve, and it will take some time until I feel like blogging again, I am writing this post for my orthodox readers who may want to make this sweet bread (or cake), in memory of my late brother.

In the meantime there are also some happy moments in our life as well.  Yesterday, we learned  that my daughter has passed at Panteios University of Economics and Political Sciences, in Athens, Department of Sociology.  Also, my son who has finished his first semestre of his Master Degree,  came first in his class and won a scolarship.



Fanouropita with Tahini, Recipe by Ivy

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Baking time: about 35 minutes


  • 375 grams self raising flour
  • 100 grams muscovado sugar (increase sugar to 1 cup if not using tahini with honey)
  • 65 grams olive oil
  • 125 grams tahini with honey (same amount of plain tahini for a vegan cake)
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 30 grams raisins
  • 150 grams crushed walnuts
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cloves, powdered
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar


  1. Beat olive oil, tahini and sugar in the mixer.
  2. Meantime mix flour with baking powder, salt, cinnamon and cloves.  In another bowl mix walnuts, raisins and orange zest with a few tablespoons of above flour mixture.
  3. Mix orange juice, brandy, vinegar and baking soda together and mix it with all the other ingredients in the mixer.  Add the flour, mix remove from the mixer and add the walnuts and raisins.
  4. Preheat oven at 180o C / 350o F.
  5. Grease a pan with olive oil and spread on it a little sugar and flour or line with parchment paper.
  6. Pour the mixture into the pan. Bake for about 35 – 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

(Note:  The cake has risen considerably but it looks flat as I should have used a baking tin about 20 cm.  I do not have one and used a 28 cm baking tin).



Update:  25th August, 2016

Here is another Phanouropita I made today, as St. Phanourios revealed some great news for our family, which, however, I wish to keep private.

This is a very easy cake which I made without even using a mixer but just a simple whisk.


Preparation time: 30 minutes
Baking time: about 40 minutes


  • 500 grams (4 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 260 grams (about 1 ¼ cups) sugar
  • 1 cup mild olive oil or mixed with vegetable oil
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp orange juice (3 juicy oranges)
    ½ cup (100 grams) walnuts, coarsely cut
  • ½ cup (90 grams) raisins
  • ¾ tbsp cinnamon, powdered
    1 tsp cloves. powdered
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar

Icing sugar for dusting on top (optional)



  1. Preheat oven to 180o C / 350o F.
  2. Put olive oil and sugar in a bowl and whisk for a few minutes.  Add orange juice and vinegar.
  3. Meantime mix all the dry ingredients in the flour .
  4. Add them to the wet ingredients and mix to combine
  5. Grease a 24 – 26 cm baking pan with olive oil and spread on it a little flour or line it with parchment paper.
  6. Pour the mixture into the pan.
  7. Place the rack in the centre of the oven.  Reduce the temperature to 160o C fan forced and bottom heat and bake for about 40 minutes or until a knife inserted in the centre, comes out clean.
  8. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
  9. Sprinkle some icing sugar on top.


You can find many more Greek recipes in my cookbook “More Than A Greek Salad”, and “Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste!” both available on all Amazon stores.


Other similar recipes:

Easy Vegan Chocolate Cake

Vegan Carrot Cake with Chocolate

Olive Oil Karydopita

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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21 Responses

  1. Thank you for posting the story and recipe about Aghios Phanourios and congratulations for your daughter and son!
    My recent post Japanese dinner

  2. I'm so sorry for the loss of your brother. My sympathies to you and your family. Such a lovely tradition about the cake, and it sounds delicious.
    My recent post Gorditas with Roasted Tomatillo Chipotle Salsa

  3. Congrats to your daughter and son! I hope that you are feel ok…

    That is a wonderful cake. So flavorful, mmmhhh!

    In thoughts with you,

    Rosa xoxo
    My recent post HERMANCE – PART III

  4. Ivy

    Thank you very much.

  5. I am so sorry for the loss of your brother. Keeping you and my family in my thoughts.

  6. wonderful story of this fanaouropita!congrats for your children,you must be a proud mother!life is a mix of happiness and sadness…

  7. A wonderful cake and a great tribute for your brother. I hope you will be ok. Congratulations to your son and daughter on their achievements.

  8. Jen of a2eatwrite

    Again, Ivy, you and your family are in my heart and prayers. Safe travels. Congratulations to your son and daughter – that's fabulous news about both of them! Lovely cake, too.

  9. Thank you for taking the time to share this story and delicious bread recipe. You must very proud of your children, congrats! Thinking of you.

    My recent post Lamb Kafta Meatball Stew

  10. Toutes mes condoléances pour ton frère : il n'est jamais facile de trouver les mots justes face à la douleur.
    Le succès de tes enfants compense et console un peu .
    Un gâteau à tester bientôt.
    Bon courage et reviens quand tu peux.

  11. Ivy, Congratulations to your daughter and son!
    I hope you do feel a bit better by now….. all the fond and dear memories of your brother will always stay in your heart.

    My recent post Peach Nougat Spelt Cake

  12. I love cakes with tahini – def try this out! I hope you are feeling better … =)
    My recent post Ramadan Menu 21

  13. mylittleexpatkitchen

    Congratulations for your daughter and son Ivy! That is wonderful news.
    Thanks also for this recipe. I've never Fanouropita.

  14. rabicamail

    all the best for your son and daughter.

  15. Sorry for the loss of your brother…and congratulations for your daughter and son…so nice!
    The cake is so interesting and so the information on your post…thanks!

  16. Oh Ivy, I am so sorry for your loss. This is the first I heard of it. Congrats also to your talented son and daughter.
    My recent post A foodie trip through Sydney

  17. I am sorry for your loss!!!!The cake sounds interesting….. I would love to try it.

  18. Ivy, this is my first visit to your blog, though I suspect it will not be my last. I am sorry for your loss and hope that time will ease your sorrow. I found you through the FoodBuzz Project Food Blog competition and wanted you to know how much I enjoy the food and recipes you feature here. I hope you have a wonderful day. I'm anxious to see what you feature in the next competition challenge. Blessings…Mary
    My recent post Corn Soup a la Patricia Wells

    • Ivy

      Thank you so much Mary. I am still debating whether to participate or not.

  19. Dear Ivy
    I have read this post with so much admiration; I am so impressed that despite your grief you managed to research and write and bake with so much professionalism. Such interesting tradition for that cake. Life is so strange, handing you sorrow on one hand and joy on the other; I would take both and be grateful. I am going to try this cake, as we have been blessed this year with a lot of walnuts from our orchard. I am so glad you are still blogging and I am going to be cheering you on as you participate in that contest..

    • Ivy

      Thank you Joumana.